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GHS Progressives, why aren't these more popular?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Polka1, Apr 28, 2019.

  1. Polka1


    Jul 25, 2018
    I've been experimenting with new strings over the last year or so. This after a period of many years where I was just buying the same thing over and over because it was familiar and easily available.

    I am certainly a fan of bright sounding rounds. Lasting a while is a major plus.

    I've experimented with most of the standard nickle plated sets, some better than others. I've tried many of the widely available stainless sets, most of which were great for lasting, but a little too hard edged in the the upper register for my taste.

    I've really fell into liking standard Boomers on my P-bass - they seem to fit the character of it nicely. And for me they last.

    But my J-bass was a bit different. NYXL's worked pretty well for me on the P-bass, so I gave them a go on the J. Pretty good, but I wanted to keep experimenting and I wanted something that would make the E talk a bit more like the other strings. Something with a bit more fundamental drive to them as well.

    After looking around, Progressives seemed like a good bet. Apparently brighter than the Boomers, something I wanted for the J. And also taper wound on the E, potentially waking up the E a bit?

    But these things aren't easy to find. Perhaps impossible locally for me. Even online is a bit sparse. Thankfully Fretnation has a huge selection.

    And I am glad I did! My initial reaction was that of concern, as they didn't sound all that alive when winding them up. However, through the amp is a different story. Bright, but not harsh. Powerful, in a way I could describe as like a sibling to Boomers. Great output. And maybe it's just a placebo, but it certainly seems like the taper on the E help. The E sounds especially good to my ears compared to other sets E, which more often than not is a bit less lively.

    Plus they have been on the bass for a while and still sound great, if not better.

    So - who out there are playing these things? Why don't they seem more popular? I know they have been around for a while, perhaps I am just slow to find what I like?
    Arthur U. Poon and trothwell like this.
  2. wvbass

    wvbass Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2004
    West Virginia
    I recently considered these. I typically use Super Brights when I use rounds, but I was looking for something different for my Thumb 5. I really liked the Warwick Black Label strings it came with, and the SB's are decent with that bass. I have a set of D'Addario EPS300-5 waiting to go on it next, and those ought to be similar to the Progressives.

    One thing I found, though...manufacturers don't seem to be very good at identifying taper wound strings in their product descriptions, and I was specifically looking for a tapered E and B.
    joebar likes this.
  3. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    How would you describe the tension/stiffness as compared to other strings you've tried recently?
  4. Funny you should mention the Progressives. I'm just waiting for my order to arrive in the next week or so to try on my 5-strings Yamaha, although I don't plan on putting them into action right away.

    I'm a huge fan of the GHS Pressurewounds, which are Alloy 52 (nickel-iron) "rollerwound". So, it was only logical for me to try the Progressives (Alloy 52 roundwound) as I'm in a hunt for a brighter alternative for the Yamaha.
    RocknRay, Arthur U. Poon and joebar like this.
  5. Polka1


    Jul 25, 2018
    Yeah, it can seem to be a bit hard to determine which strings are tapered.

    As for ProSteels, I personally wasn't much of a fan. For me they seemed to be lacking in upper mids character, which I tend to like. As with other stainless sets I tried, I found that they were a bit harsh as the treble end was pushed. I usually play with a pick and tend to go with a bright and overdriven SVT type of tone, which certainly plays into it.

    One thing that really stood out to me was how different all the sets I tested sounded. Especially with years of not really trying new things. I didn't expect the differences to be so noticeable with every change. Also interesting, to my ears it seems I could actually EQ many of the nickel plated sets to be brighter before sounding harsh. Again, I am not exactly chasing a super hifi modern style tone.
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2019
    wvbass likes this.
  6. wvbass

    wvbass Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2004
    West Virginia
    Thanks for the insight. I'm not going for a hifi tone, either, and am pushing a modeled SVT tone, but it is usually bright and clean. I put it right on the edge of being harsh with a pick. I'm curious if my opinion of the ProSteels will match up with yours. It may not...the Thumb is a little different sort of animal than my other basses, so I ay be experimenting with strings for a while.
  7. Polka1


    Jul 25, 2018
    I would say they are mostly down the middle, perhaps a bit softer than average.

    However, in years past I have generally used medium-light/100-45s. To me it allows the E and A to move around a bit more when you dig in, giving a bit more upper frequency character and thus a bit more even tone for how I play.

    After looking at the tensions, I went for straight medium Progressives. 105-45, slightly heavier on the E and A than my standard.

    Tension seems pretty similar to most of what I tried. Taper E seems to be equal, although heavier in guage. The A might have a touch more. In a general sense they seem to fit somewhere in between the softer 100-45 NYXLs and slightly firmer 100-45 Boomers. Tonally they do seem pretty even across the board, perhaps more so than the NYXLs or Boomers. Texture wasn't really a priority for me, but these might come in a touch rougher than the other nickle strings I tried.

    Recently tried were: Prosteels, Blue Steel, SuperSteel, XLs, NYXLs, Boomers, Round Core Boomers, Progressives, Fender Super Bass, Curt Mangan Nickel Wound, and at least one other set that I forget and can't identify. Previous to this was years of mostly XLs and Slinkys. Still would like to try the Super Brights and Slinky Cobalts, but for now I will likely settle in with these.
    two fingers likes this.
  8. Polka1


    Jul 25, 2018
    Yeah, every bass is different and everyone hears differently as well.
  9. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Lots of info. Thanks!
  10. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    :laugh: it's never been a sprint for me, either --- glad you're on to something you like! :thumbsup:

    00 images2b3.png
  11. matante


    Nov 3, 2003
    Los Angeles
    I've used the GHS Pressurewounds as well and I liked them but didn't love them. I actually get less finger noise and a smoother feel from Sunbeams. If I were to experiment with other rounds I might try some pure nickels.
  12. 4001

    4001 Inactive

    Sep 29, 2004
    Lake County, IL
    Tribal Tech/ Tribal Tech - 1990

    Scott Henderson uses D'Addario XL strings, but Gary Willis would rather use GHS Progressives.
    Tribal Tech/ Illicit - 1993

    Scott Henderson continues to play D'Addario XL strings, while Gary Willis wouldn't think of using anything but GHS Progressives.
    Tribal Tech/ Face First - 1995

    Gary Willis thinks Scott Henderson is a fool for using D'Addario XL strings, while Scott Henderson thinks Gary Willis is a chump for using GHS Progressives.
    Dog Party - 1995

    There were no GHS Progressives used in the making of this recording. However, there is a strong possibility that they may be used in the making of the next Tribal Tech record.
    Tribal Tech/ Reality Check - 1997

    Willis: If I had to put D'Addario strings on my bass, I'd give up music and become a drummer.

    Henderson: GHS Progressives suck.
    Tribal Tech/ Thick - 1999

    Due to the current restraining order and pending litigation, Scott Henderson and Gary Willis are prohibited from publicly or privately discussing any of the alleged altercations and property damage resulting from their use or non-use of D'Addario or GHS string products.
    Tribal Tech/ Rocket Science - 2001

    Henderson: I use D'Addario strings, even though they've never used me in one of their ads. I bet GHS would.

    Willis: I use GHS strings because 10 years ago they used me in one of their ads.

    Henderson: All strings are made in the same factory. I use D'Addario because they put a fancy name on their string packs. GHS is a stupid name. I don't know what those letters mean, and that scares me.

    Willis: I use GHS strings because they told me what the letters mean.

    Henderson: GHS strings made my guitar catch on fire. I use D'Addario, but they caused radiation sickness. There really is no safe string to put on your guitar.

    Willis: I try to avoid using strings whenever possible but I keep a fire extinguisher handy.

    Henderson: D'Addario strings make my amp 39% louder.

    Willis: GHS strings are great for hanging plants and make a nice garrote.
    Well to the Bone - 2002

    Scott Henderson uses D'Addario strings blah, blah, blah...
    Live! - 2005

    Scott Henderson uses D'Addario strings and that's just not funny anymore.
    Tribal Tech/ X - 2012 (In 2002, Willis defected over to D'addario)

    Although Gary Willis has been using D'Addario strings for nearly ten years, Scott Henderson bought strings directly from Donato D’Addario in 1680.
    HBC - 2012

    Scott Henderson is under treatment for D'Addario string abuse.
    sonojono, Eikari, Root 5 and 6 others like this.
  13. exposed core prosteels rock too... the issue commonly is they project mistakes like a telecaster
  14. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    Progressives are good strings. Start out a bit brighter than I like, but when they settle in, they're good for a good long while. Boomers, on the other hand, sound good to start with, but once they age a bit, I'm fighting to get tone out of them. It's all relative. The downside of Progressives is I like different gauges, and they're expensive bought that way, which tends to send me to using Kaliums - similar strings, and not as expensive bought in preferred gauges. If you order Kaliums well ahead of time (their delivery times are a bit chaotic), than that problem is not a big deal.
  15. My only minor gripe with GHS is they don't offer factory 5-string sets in my preferred gauges. For the Progressives, I had to order the L8000 (40-60-80-100) and a single 130B.

    That said, Jason at Fret Nation was very good in working out a special price for me to offset the extra cost associated with ordering custom gauges.
  16. rocu


    Jan 28, 2015
    Missoula, MT
    They're available from the TB Store.
  17. trothwell


    Apr 9, 2008
    I like GHS Progressives very much, but agree they seem kind of obscure. I hope they do not get discontinued!
  18. Once I get to try them in the next few months, I'll make sure to talk about it often enough. ;)
  19. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    I’m a fan of alloy 52. Progressives have a brilliant tone, and they feel so much more comfortable than stainless.

    The long section of exposed core wire at the ball end is my only complaint. I’ve pretty much committed to using them exclusively on my J because I had to set it up to accommodate the exposed core. I’d have to do a fair bit of tweaking to throw a different string on it.

    That being said, I do freaking love them.
    Arthur U. Poon and michael_t like this.
  20. What GHS needs to do is to update their marketing strategy for them. For example, coming up with a new package like they've done with a few others and getting rid of the old marketing term like "filament grade alloy", which doesn't seem to appeal to bassists in a meaningful and relatable way.

    These strings will test your strength and tone, by using a combination of premium core wire and a "Filament Grade Alloy". This alloy is the same strong wire used in automotive headlights and is magnetically activated to pull the tone through your pickups.
    Root 5 likes this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Jan 28, 2021

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